The Black River softball team officially named its field “Dorothy Chapman Field” on Monday in honor of Chapman, who formerly played as a catcher and outfielder in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Chapman, who was born Nov. 21, 1918 and passed on Aug. 2, 1981, lived in Spencer Township as an adult and her six children went through the Black River school system.
Her maiden name was McAlpin and she carried the last name Maguire when she played professional baseball from 1943-1949 for the Racine Belles, Milwaukee Chicks, Grand Rapids Chicks and Muskegon Lassies. She was a member of three championship teams, Racine in 1943, Milwaukee in 1944 and Muskegon in 1947.
Retired Black River administrator Bruce Lorincz said Sherry and Doug Scheck were instrumental in putting together the idea for Black River to honor Chapman. The Scheck’s are teachers at Black River and their daughter, Bailey, is a softball player.
Black River Athletic Director Josh Calame and coach Lauren Rogers embraced the idea of dedicating the field in Chapman’s name.
Rogers, whose maiden name is Toth, played at Walsh Jesuit.
Black River defeated Firelands 7-5 Monday with some of Chapman’s family in attendance. Pirates pitcher Hannah Barco earned the win. Kayla Gardner and Sage Bourdess both hit a single, double and had two runs batted in. Danielle Sexton, Morgan Alban and Nastia Patrusheva also had key hits in the victory.
Chapman was born in LaGrange and played in leagues in Cleveland and Elyria as an amateur. A plaque and field banner with her name is at Black River’s softball field.
The movie “A League of Their Own” is based on the AAGPBL.